Werewool’s ‘designer proteins’ could revolutionize the fashion industry

They soon realized they weren’t asking for enough money; $500,000, the company’s original funding pitch to investors, doesn’t go far in biotech, and the small ask didn’t look realistic. They landed investors after developing and pitching a more substantial, long-term business plan requiring more capital.

On the advice of a mentor, they decided to develop fibers that combine their own lab-created designer proteins with cheaper plant-based proteins. This will help reduce the cost for a kilogram of yarn from $80 to $8 to $15—on par with the cost of standard materials.

Another challenge: hiring researchers on a shoestring budget. The founders had more recruiting success when they focused on the “inspired by nature” story rather than a hardcore science narrative about proteins and enzymes.

“You have to find people who really like what you do, who really share your passion,” Gomez says.

It is the founders‘ passion for sustainable fashion, combined with their patented technology, that will take this company far, says Corinna Chen, a partner with Material Impact, a venture capital firm that co-led the seed round in Werewool with Sofinnova Partners.

“I have seen Ph.D.s try to work with big fashion houses, but often they speak very different languages,” she says. “Werewool’s technology has origins in science and fashion, meaning they are creating products that are highly innovative while also resonating with major fashion brands and consumers.”

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